If you're like me, you belong to several message boards. Although I visit only 3 of them daily (I'm a moderator and on the Design Team for one), there was a time - not so long ago - when they took up a lot of my time. It's easy to get involved in the "drama," or try to keep up with every new gadget or paper collection that seems to appear almost daily. However, I've come to several conclusions about these message boards, and I've realized that my time can be better spent working on my projects.
1. Since the information I'll receive about what's new and hot in scrapbooking and stamping will be the same no matter which message board I visit, I can limit myself to 2 or 3 and still not miss out on all the info.
2. I don't have time for all the drama. I read the subject lines of the posts and can usually skip at least half of them because they are really not important. Especially the ones that start," So, what are you doing today" or "Guess What?" I don't want to guess, and I really don't need to know what everyone is doing.
3. I don't have to download and print out every tutorial that is posted or watch every video that is made. To be perfectly honest, although some of them are quite good and well-thought-out, many of them are thrown together just so that the people who have made them can say, "Look, I can make tutorials and videos."
4. I don't waste my time uploading my layouts and cards to online galleries. Scanning, stitching, and resizing my images so that they will fit within the confines of some online galleries takes a lot of time. On many larger message boards, these posts remain for mere minutes before they are pushed off the first page in the gallery, only to be buried under everyone else's. And I don't know about you; but after all the work I go through to scan, stitch, etc., not only would I like them to stay around for awhile, but a comment or 2 would be appreciated as well. It still boggles my mind how over 200 people can view a layout or card, yet not even one person can take the time to post a simple comment.
5. Avoid getting too personally involved on the forums. I've made the mistake of feeling so comfortable on some message boards that I've actually given my honest opinions when people have asked for them. Now, I don't mean that I've trashed someone's layout or post. I would never, ever do that. I can always find something nice to say about someone's hard work, and I don't "flame." I mean the people who ask how you really feel about something they've said or done. For example: "Let me know if I hurt your feelings, or if you feel slighted, because that really isn't what I wanted to do." They really don't want to know your honest opinions or feelings. They just want you to alleviate their feelings of guilt or make them feel better about the decisions they've made.
6. Finally, set a timer for the number of minutes you want to devote to message boards, and stick to it.
I know I might sound a little harsh, but I've heard so many crafters say that they have no time to scrapbook or stamp anymore. Maybe it's because we are spending too much time on message boards and not enough time creating. Message boards, like all things in life, have their place. I've learned so much from other crafters on message boards, and I've had a lot of fun sometimes. But I've also spent a lot of time and hard work on some forums, only to fall victim to favoritism and the terrible crime of "not being popular or famous." Remember, too much of anything isn't good for you. Now stop reading my blog, and go create something! :)